In the third of three blogs, British expat Lizzie Brandon talks about her joy at being accepted as an official New Zealander.
On 15th August this year, my husband Sean and I took the final steps on our journey to NZ Citizenship. Our Citizenship ceremony at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna was a genuinely emotional experience.
As a Permanent Resident of NZ you already have the right to vote, plus a few other entitlements only reserved for the citizens of some countries. Our MC told us therefore that to apply for Citizenship was a decision lead by the heart rather than the head. I got a bit teary.
There were 50 countries of origin represented that evening. Hoards of Brits naturally, but also South Africans, Filipinos, Americans, Chinese, Greeks, Brazilians… The gentleman sitting next to me – who I guessed to be in his 50s – was from Cambodia.
How amazing. From all those hundreds of diverse backgrounds and circumstances we'd all achieved our goal, and were in that room together. I think it would've been fascinating and inspiring to hear the stories of some of our fellow new-New Zealanders.
What more to add…?
Sitting down for a sparkling NZ wine after the Ceremony with our friends, gave us an opportunity to reflect on some stuff. Here are a couple of things which we found surprising and /or shocking when we first arrived – and indeed some stuff which we still find downright weird.
Stuff that we didn't understand, but have come to love (or at least accept)
Many houses don't have it. We bought our house in April. It was warm when we viewed the property and neither of us thought to look for radiators. I arrived mid-winter. I looked for them then! A couple of plug-in oil radiators had to suffice until we got the heat pumps fitted. It was cold. Miss Dill spent the winter worshipping these little portable heat gods (as shown in the photo!)
Mobile phone and Internet coverage
It's erratic at best. Some people are still on dial-up. I'm not joking.
When you're visiting NZ and a Kiwi asks if you're enjoying yourself, it's not enough to say, "yes thanks." They'll wait expectantly. They want to hear exactly how, where and why you're enjoying yourself.
Stuff we may never understand
Footy: This can mean rugby league, rugby union or soccer. There's no rhyme nor reason. The same person will use it for all three. Your guess is as good as ours.
Aioli: A nation's obsession. Abandon all hope of being served normal mayonnaise with your chips. This garlic mayo is compulsory.
Curry: You can order a Vindaloo and have it mild, medium or hot. This still makes no sense to us. No. Sense.
Rugby playing positions: Playing at No.10, Beauden Barrett is the All Blacks' fly-half. Except that he's not. He's their first five-eighth. And TJ Perenara isn't their scrum-half, he's their half-back. That's enough. My brain has just melted.
Thinking about relocating to New Zealand from Britain?
If you're wondering whether emigrating to NZ from the UK could be a great move for you and your family, there's a wealth of information available online. The New Zealand Now website might be a good place to start, along with the Skill Shortage List Checker.
And finally, an important point to remember
Although I've been writing these 3 blogs as Lizzie, I am also a client of GBPensions as such it would be remiss of me not to gently encourage my fellow British expats to investigate their pension transfer options maybe even before leaving the UK.
In truth, neither Sean nor I had thought of moving our UK pensions. I don't think we even realised it was an option, but then we were introduced to Tony Chamberlain by a mutual acquaintance. We ended up working together, and I can honestly vouch for the fact that he's a top bloke and an absolute professional. My personal recommendation is to drop him a line or give him a call on +64 (0)9 414 2089 and have a chat. If you don't ask, you'll never know.
This blog was written by Lizzie Brandon in her personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed within this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of GBPensions. GBPensions or the author does not access any information provided by named third parties and takes no responsibility for any advice or services provided by those parties.